So often people decide to lose weight, and they make big changes in their diet, or they go all out with an intense exercise regimen. They lose weight, and they feel victorious! On top of the world! Then, they no longer feel as motivated to maintain those big changes, and the pounds creep back on. Have you been there?
The problem with this way of thinking is, you never really bought into the change you made. It was to serve a purpose, but once the goal is reached, you aren’t happy with the restrictions you made. You are ready to resume your life, now that you have what you want.
What creates the lasting change you desire is to make smaller changes that you can live with for the rest of your life. These will make a difference in the long run, but you won’t see fast results. Remember the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race! This is lifestyle change, not a diet.
Here are 4 changes to consider choosing from. Pick the one that seems easiest to accomplish.
- Drink fewer calories. If you drink sugar sweetened soda, or sweet tea, or coffee with cream and sugar, cut those calories back. I’m not telling you to stop drinking Coke, but try the cut back to half. If you drink one a day, drink one every other day. You can try a sugar substitute, but by keeping what you enjoy, it is more sustainable. Also, if you drink alcoholic drinks, cut those back by half as well. You get more bang for your buck, because alcohol has 7 calories per gram, as opposed to sugar at 4 calories per gram.
- Exercise a little every day. The American Heart Association recommends that you do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 days a week. If you aren’t already doing that, you can begin with just 10 minutes. By aiming for every day, you are creating a habit. Take a walk before your shower, or right as you get home from work. Find the time that fits your schedule and family.
- Sit less. A big part of the calories you burn, or don’t burn, are in non-exercise activities. Stand or pace rather than sitting every chance you get. I don’t recommend pacing while you eat, because there is a real risk of choking, but there is no harm in walking while you make a phone call, or standing to check your email. Notice the places you are sitting, and place a reminder there to stand instead.
- Add more fiber! Find high fiber foods you enjoy, keep them on hand for snacks, and add them to your meals. Beans, celery, oatmeal, shredded wheat, these all have high fiber content that leave you feeling full and less likely to indulge. Try not to add a high fat topping, which will negate the positive benefits. Peanut butter on celery is great, as long as you keep the serving size reasonable.
I hope these suggestions may motivate you to go easy on yourself. Remember, you are aiming for a change you can maintain for life. Let me know if you have every tried one of these and how you did. If you couldn’t maintain the change then, try to remember what caused you to relapse. What can you do differently this time? I look forward to hearing from you!
Photo credit: Myrrien / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)